Brief report: An evaluation of the social communication questionnaire as a screening tool for autism spectrum disorder in young people referred to child & adolescent mental health services

Matthew Hollocks, Roland Casson, Clare White, Jess Dobson, Peter Beazley, Ayla Humphrey

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The SCQ is a widely used screening measure for the assessment of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, its sensitivity and specificity when used with older children in the context of community Child & Adolescent Mental Health services is unclear. Seventy-seven (Mean age = 12.8 years) young people with suspected ASD were screened using parent- and teacher-reported SCQ’s before completing a comprehensive diagnostic assessment. Of the 77 young people included, 44 (57%) met criteria for an ASD diagnosis. Our results indicated that regardless of informant, SCQ scores did not significantly predict the outcome of the diagnostic assessment. Based on the published cut-off score for the SCQ, Receiver Operating Characteristic curve analyses revealed a lower than expected sensitivity and specificity. This suggests that the SCQ is not an effective screening tool when used in the context of community Child & Adolescent Mental Health services
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2618-2623
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number6
Early online date10 Apr 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

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